"Look deep! — Christ's wounds the Truth have shown.
My truths, I've hewn within the stone!"
Imagine you've been given permission by Stratford's Holy Trinity Church to open Shakespeare's grave and search for clues to the greatest unsolved mystery in literature. Inside you find a cryptic Shakespearean rhyming couplet on crumbling parchment sealed in a small metal container. It's in iambic tetrameter, just like his gravestone, and signed by the poet himself! What would you do?
The most famous writer in history never wrote a letter to anyone nor left a play, a poem, a page, a line in his own hand. There's zero paper trail concerning his writing career or personal life in London. Yet you're holding in your hands an astounding message, apparently from the great man himself, promising the truth and pointing to where it's hidden. You look up from the grave and just feet away, you see it! The High Altar stone bearing the stigmata crosses that signify Christ's wounds. Instantly an invisible choir punctuates the atmosphere with the rousing opening of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus and you know in your gut you've found the Holy Grail Of Literature!
This story is essentially true. (Except the part about opening the grave; that's never going to happen. But the music was real, I assure you!) I've spent twelve years researching the suspicious lack of evidence in the poet's life. And back in 2010 I'd discovered an intricate system of codes hidden within the text of the Bard's gravestone and monument. But I needed corroboration on two fronts:
First, direct access to film areas of the church not normally available to the public. And second, the opinion of a world-class cryptographer. I sent my findings to the legendary Whitfield Diffie, whose co-invention of public-key cryptography made online key distribution possible. He read my work, met for dinner, looked me straight in the eye and said, "If I were you... I'd scan that altar."
Encouraging but radical advice! (It was certainly not on my mind at the time.) But almost immediately the church granted me filming permission and the pace began to quicken. Sure enough the missing piece of the puzzle, not available through any book or online research, revealed itself as soon as I stepped beyond the secured barrier and approached the altar. The codes predicted it but I needed a high-resolution shot for proof. It's almost invisible to the naked eye.
The pieces tumbled precisely into place now, completing the game-changing solution I'd spent years deciphering. The original rhyming couplet is in medieval English and Latin but translated it yields the provocative message you see above. It also predicts an extra stigmata cross on the side of the altar stone that should not be there, containing a tiny five-pointed metal star embedded in its right arm... a highly significant symbol in Renaissance alchemy!
My dilemma was now an excruciating mix of wild excitement balanced with extreme caution. I wanted to shout it to the world but felt a heavy obligation to protect the discovery until its authenticity could be proven beyond doubt. I was well aware that the establishment would likely not want this made public until they could investigate it themselves, in secret. But the coded message is very specific. Stigmata crosses are always on the top surface of the altar stone. Hewn within means cut into it. (Look deep!). So Diffie was right; the only way to prove my hypothesis would be to scan it with radar. But how?
The altar and grave area is protected by a motion-detecting forensics system and 24-hr CCTV cameras. It'd require military-style planning, a major distraction, a radar technician, film crew, and nerves of steel. Altogether possibly the most audacious heist in literary history!
In the above video you saw the covert scanning of the high altar and the corroborating lab results. Scientific confirmation of an enormous saint's cavity, proving conclusively the validity of the codes and bolstering confidence that they likely are by Shakespeare himself.
What I didn't mention in that clip is that I actually did ask permission of the vicar, Martin Gorick, to scan. I also surveyed the church congregation for their opinions. I asked the head of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stanley Wells, for his support. I even went to the bishop of the diocese. It turned out he was a Monkees fan and loved to use I'm A Believer in his sermons! So I bribed him with a signed Davy Jones book I had authored. He was so pleased he invited me to bless the congregation with him outside the church on Shakespeare's birthday.
But that kumbaya moment didn't last long. As soon as I asked him to authorize the church to scan the altar (in full view of the world's media to eliminate suspicion of vested interest) his blessings withered.
I reminded him that if even a single page were found it'd be a priceless cultural treasure whose promotional and financial value to the church would be incalculable. The world would beat a path to their door to gaze in wonder. It'd be King Tut in Tights!
Stratford, however, is the hub of a multi-billion dollar global Shakespeare industry. If something were found that challenged their official story the ramifications for the townspeople, local tourism, academic reputations, even English Lit. courses worldwide, would be seismic.
Gorick side-stepped, the congregants balked, Wells punted, and the bishop stonewalled. Nobody wanted this boat rocked.
I anticipated as much, of course. That's why I had scanned the altar before asking permission!
The chance that they'd say yes or no outright was virtually nil. Most likely they'd stall. Which meant they'd never trust me near the altar again. Six years work — and the historic opportunity for the world to see the first ever physical evidence from Shakespeare himself — all gone in "one fell swoop" (Macbeth). I couldn't risk that.
Once the scan results were in though, I had the insurance I needed. Only then did I fly back to Stratford to find out for sure whether they'd do the right thing or not. Honestly, had they said yes then, I would've told them I'd already done it and just given them the files. All I wanted was to secure the truth by documenting the scan so nothing could accidentally 'disappear' later.
But they weren't interested in what their man had clearly gone to great lengths to hide, encode, and pass down to us. (Although frankly, anyone thinking that scenario through should realize there's a huge story buried there. He basically tells us in Sonnet 121: "By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown." Doesn't that sound like the high-ranked authorities at the time were insisting his paper trail must disappear?)
Instead of honoring their benefactor's wishes the whole town circled the wagons. The bishop promised to get back to me after taking it to "a higher authority". Given his own highly elevated position that could only mean the Queen or God. And apparently they've both been busy; I've been waiting over five years for that call. (Four centuries have passed and still his "deeds must not be shown"!)
Meanwhile I've uncovered much more material that will forever change our concept of this incredible genius. Hence my decision to finally go public. Book I of the Holy Trinity Solution series, Dee-Coding Shakespeare, has just been released. Two more will follow in 2017.
It's high time his deeds were shown and the full story told.
Even our camera crew didn't know what was going on behind the banner. They thought they were just filming a rehearsal of excerpts from my musical, BARD, before a small audience of congregants and church elders. But no. Our team was secretly hacking a 17th century mystery with 21st century technology!
For the finale the church staff lit dozens of candles under Shakespeare's monument, around his gravestone, and on the piano. Then the verger turned off all the chancel lights as I performed Sonnet 18 in homage to the great dramatist.
"No lights!... Camera!... Action!"
A couple of weeks later (and safely back in Los Angeles without having been arrested!) we finally heard back from two of the leading radar labs in America. They had both reached the same conclusion independently of one another and the results were beyond our wildest expectations.
Slam-dunk proof that there's a cavity in the altar stone up to 250x normal size. Large enough to hold all the missing manuscripts of the most beloved plays in the world. Hamlet? Macbeth? A Midsummer Night's Dream?... maybe even new, undiscovered masterpieces! Who knows?
Who'd like to know?
Now it's up to YOU. This is your chance to make history by solving a mystery that's baffled scholars for centuries. I'm asking you to vote your conscience.
YES: I want to know what Shakespeare left for us!
NO: I'm not interested. Let's leave it another 400 years.
Go to the VOTE page now. And please ask all your friends to do the same. One MILLION VOTES is our initial goal to get the media's attention and bring pressure to bear on this most important cultural discovery.